Linklatershas become the first magic circle firm to smash through the 50,000 benchmark for newly-qualified lawyers, raising salaries by 1,000 to 51,000.
The move will frustrate rival magic circle firm Clifford Chance, which has just taken the decision to restore its newly-qualified salaries to 50,000, just one year after it had reduced them to 48,000.
Newly-qualifiedsat Linklaters are benefiting from a firmwide 2 per cent pay increase, which will be paid to all of the firms lawyers, except salaried or national partnersand members of the equity.
First-year trainees annual pay will go up from 28,500 to 29,100.
Linklaters training partner Simon Firth said the move
was reflective of increased optimism across the market, although he admits: The optimism has not yet translated into a significant increase in work.
Clifford Chance, meanwhile, announced a firmwide adjustment of its salary bands, which, in addition to returning newly-qualified salaries to 50,000, sees first-year trainees salaries rise modestly, from 28,500 to 29,000.
Elsewhere in the market, salary rates have remained unchanged, with Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Slaughter and May all ruling out salary increases in the short term. US firm White & Casehas also held its newly-qualified salaries at 60,000.
Firthconcededthat Linklaters increases were unlikely to impact significantly on recruitment. I dont think anybody is going to move firms for 1,000, he said.
l The Law Society Council has approved an increase to
its recommended minimum salary levels. They go from the general rate of 13,600 and 15,300 for Central London to 14,870 and 16,680 respectively.